Tau Ceramica of Spain, last year's Euroleague runner-up, has pulled back from the brink of real trouble in Group D by winning at home 86-68 on Thursday against Scavolini Pesaro. The victory pulls Tau up to a 2-3 record, same as Scavolini. Those two are now tied for fourth place with Cibona and Asvel. Tau put the lid on Scavolini's inside game, holding one of the top performers in the Euroleague so far, Joseph Blair, to 7 points. Only two visiting players reached double figures in scoring as compared to five for Tau. Elmer Bennett and Fabricio Oberto had 17 each for the winners, Andres Nocioni 15, Luis Scola 14 and Dejan Tomasevic a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds. Miroslav Beric, a former Tau standout, shot in 23 points for Scavolini and Brad Traina put up 12.
Tau's best weapon in the first two quarters was the inside shooting, 20 of 28 two-pointers (71%), which offset the missed shots beyond the arc (0 of 5 in the twenty first minutes). Scavolini, led by former Tau player Miroslav Beric, given an ovation by the home crowd, was lethal from three-point range, hitting 6 of 9 and balancing the score in that way. It looked like Tau might pull away easily, however, when Elmer Bennett scored his eighth point and increased the lead to 36-30. But then 0-7 run in a flash tied the game again. Scavolini was to be happy with a small deficit of four points at half time, most of all taking into account that Blair had only scored one point by then.
The third quarter started with an inspired Beric who took his team ahead by 7 (52-59). A time out called by Dusko Ivanovic woke up Tau's players, who came back into the game with force and decision, and the period ended 65-62. The game was to be sealed in the last period, as Laurent Foirest managed to stop Beric while Oberto, Dejan Tomasevic, Luis Scola and a spectacular Nocioni, the new local hero, dominated the situation below the rims, forging the lead until the final 18 points, which do not reflect what was seen on the floor.
Thursday, November 8, 2001